Baby Animals

Escape to the Hovatter Wildlife Zoo

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Mother  Giraffe at Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo Kingwood WV summer 2020

So West Virginia is not known for its large selection of Zoos or animal parks. But with our family spending so much time at home with the Coronavirus it was nice to spend a morning at the West Virginia family-owned and operated Hovatters Wild Animal Zoo. Every time we go I can’t help thinking about the movie “We Bought a Zoo”. This morning’s trip  was well worth the entry fee and we all came home feeling happy. A day spent with animals that well cared for is alway a day well spent.

Hovatter is an ever-growing and evolving collection of animals and displays. Over the course of their 28 years in operation, they have been home to several different collections of animals. So every time we visit we have seen something different and the cages and habitats are always improving.  On this trip, we were able to see several different baby animals. Although I didn’t get to take many photos of them we still enjoyed watching them. This spring we got to see baby monkeys, baby wort hogs, and baby birds.

The highlight of every trip is feeding and petting some of the safe animals in the collection. My personal favorite is feeding the Giraffes and the Parakeets. As you can see from the above photo the Giraffes are friendly and gentle.  This mother Giraffe and her baby, who is at least 11 feet tall, spend their day greeting visitors and eating all the carrot sticks you can give them.img_20200602_101311266

The newest attraction that we visited was the Parakeet aviary. I absolutely fell in love with this enclosure. Since we were some of the very first people to arrive the birds were hungry. 80 little birds wanted to feed, swarming us when we produced popsicle sticks covered in bird seed. If you have any fear of birds I would not suggest this experience as we had birds everywhere. As you can see Paige my granddaughter ended up with a Parakeet in her hair.

 

We spent a great deal of time watching the birds and hand-feeding them.  This for me was worth the entry price but I am guessing the birds get full of seed by afternoon and you dont have the same experience as we did early on a visitor day.

 

We also were able to pet donkeys, burros an Emu and two steers. Here is one of the sweetist cows I have ever been around. I think this is a Guernsey steer( but not sure) the other one in the photo is a white donkey both loved getting our attention.

Bull at Hovatters zoo licking our hand

JoLynn Powers, Christopher Powers and Paige Powers feeding a ( what I think is a) Guernsey steer at Hovatter’s Zoo. 

The kids enjoyed seeing all of the wonderful animals that were on display the even had Bears and lions that you could see well and live peacocks struting around the property.  They were able to feed camels and monkeys through special tubes built into their enclosers and a large Emu who liked to peck at your hand with its beak.

The staff is nice and the animals all seemed happy, healthy, and well-fed. I am sure that some of these animals, including the large cats, are rescued from other Zoos or carnivals. Some are old and some very young but they all were refreshing to see and feed.  I really enjoyed hearing  a lion roar and the monkeys playing and swinging in their cages. img_20200602_115021939

A couple hours later we let the kids hit the gift shop. It looks like they enjoyed the day too. With toys in hand, we left the park and all of the sweet animals for a late lunch and headed home knowing that we would be back again one day.

For a family day, I can’t say enough lovely things about Hovatters Wildlife Zoo. It’s a small treasure of wild animals off the beatten path in Kingwood, WV.  for more information about the zoo you can find them here Hovatters Wildlife Zoo.

Being outside with the kids was so refreshing while the state was still just reopening and the thought of doing much was limited. I hope if you are in the area you look them up and spend a day petting, feeding, and sharing with all of these wonderful animals.

Here is a gallery of some of the animal we met at the Zoo:

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Categories: animal health, Baby Animals, Hovatter's Wildlife Zoo, Preston County WV, West Virginia, wildlife, Zoo | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Flowers, Forest and Fauna: Spring time in West Virginia

As many of you already know I love to take photos,I almost always have a camera with me. So I seem to find all kinds of wonderful things to take photos of. This spring has been so busy, I am surprised, that I have even found time for short bursts of creativity where I take photos. So today I just wanted to share with all of you some of the things I have been seeing in my little corner of the world here in West Virginia this spring.

close up of a fresh Rhododendron bloom

close up of a fresh Rhododendron bloom

This is one of the views I wake up to every morning for the month of May.

Tom blending into the tree line as we turkey hunt

Tom blending into the tree line as we turkey hunt

We did some Turkey hunting early in the month of May but we struck out. No fresh turkey for dinner this year. Tom and I heard a few gobbles but nothing close enough to think about. The weather was unusually warm and dry and this may have effected the turkeys.

Pheasant tail mushrooms AKA Dryad saddle mushrooms

Pheasant tail mushrooms AKA Dryad saddle mushrooms

This meant that the weather was great for mushrooms. We found a bounty of these Pheasant Tail mushrooms while out turkey hunting. They are an easy to find, spring edible mushroom, we found many in the woods that day.

Pheasant tail mushroom on tree stump

Pheasant tail mushroom on tree stump

The first bloom of spring at the new house

The first bloom of spring at the new house

I tired of  all the snow, cold and wet of winter this year and was over joyed to see this. When this sign of spring finally opened, I felt as if I took a long deep breath, knowing winter was really over.

Spring Stream in Pendelton County WV

We did get a day to hike and fish before the spring weather got to hot( by May 23 the temps had already hit 94 degrees F) this stream was a great place to rest and fish on our day long adventure.

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Boundary marker for public land

 

Moss covered stones along the river at Ten Mile WV

Moss covered stones along the river at Ten Mile WV

We have also had a very popular back yard this year, with lots of wild baby animals roaming around. This spring Tom and I have found Toads, baby rabbits, baby squirrels, baby Doves and Robbins and a Box Turtle so far. It makes for a very educational trip out side. Now if we can just get Christopher over his fear of frogs and toads.

meet Chipper and Splinter the Barnwood builder Babies

meet Chipper and Splinter the Barn Wood Builder Babies

Red Eyed Box turtle walking across the back yard

Red Eyed Box turtle walking across the back yard

Then of course we have a photo of Christopher’s favorite wild animal… Jinn the photo bomber.

Jinn the photo bombing cat

Jinn the photo bombing cat

So thing here are busy, the house remodel is just about finished. Summer is taking hold and the heat is on. The last four days have been in the upper 80’s and 90’s. School will be over in about a week and Christopher will be starting summer swimming lessons. Most of the spring flowers are already gone for the year (I already miss them). The garden got planted but we are so late that it will be a month before I see any real growth . So Summer will be a time to hunt mushrooms in the cool shade of the dark hard woods and maybe even a weekend trip of camping. I will be ready for it sooner than it will happen but until them I keep my eyes open for more beauty that I see every day.

Categories: Appalachian Mountains, Baby Animals, Easter, flowers, Hardwood forest, Mushrooms, photo review, Photos, Turkey season, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Baby Squires Interrupt a Day of Barn Wood Building: Home remodel #3

We have been working like mad to finish up the floors and get a good start on the barn wood walls that are part of a remodel that we are doing with the T.V. Show titled “The Barnwood Builders.” Then all of our work just slowed to a stop on Monday. As Tom and I removed some of the larger boards from the lumber pile to see if we could find one that was wider then our fuse box door, we came across a nest built-in our barn wood. The babies are Gray Squirrels that normally would nest in a hard wood tree. It seems the mother felt that our huge pile of wood was a safe place to raise her young. She made a beautiful and warm nest out of the large amounts of green grass that is growing under the lumber piles. The little guys never even opened an eye while we banged around. Tom and I had no idea that they were sleeping under where we worked. By that afternoon we named the little ones and had a conversation about moving them in the house ( my vote was”NO”to squirrels in the house ) so here are Chipper and Splinter. The fearless squirrels that slowed the entire construction of my family room for a day.

Opening up the nest in the barn wood

Opening up the nest in the barn wood

Two baby gray squirrels in the nest sleep through all of our activity

Two baby gray squirrels in the nest sleep through all of our activity

meet Chipper and Splinter the Barnwood builder Babies

Meet Chipper and Splinter the Barnwood Babies

Tom and I just did not have the heart to really move the little guys even though they are resting on the very board that we need to make a door out of. So we are working on another portion of the family room for now. I hope within the next two weeks they will be ready to head into the trees with their Mom, we see her regularly going in and out of the nest.

As of Friday I had finished grouting the tile floors and sealed them. They turned out really nice with a muted color pattern of gray, sand stone red, gold and rusty orange. The same basic colors in our barn wood. I spent about 30 hours of time putting in the grout and cleaning it back off. It was a long week of feeling like Cinderella scrubbing floors on my hands and knees but the results are wonderful. The one trick I did learn over my week of scrubbing is that it saves you large amounts of time to seal the slate before you install it or grout it. The extra couple of hours I spent washing the tile and sealing it meant that I could trust that the grout would not stick to the slate when I put them together. So I could actually sweep most of the extra grout off with a broom. Making the cleaning up of the floor go extremely fast with one good washing getting all the extra grout off with no residue to worry about.

After using a grout bag I am able to sweep up a lot of the lose grout before washing

After using a grout bag I am able to sweep up a lot of the loose grout before washing

 

Slate tile floors with grout and sealer

Slate tile floors with grout and sealer

We also got almost half the wall boards up over the holiday weekend, even with the squirrel delay. Tom and I decided that we both really wanted a room with a barn feeling, so we chose to keep the boards running in the vertical pattern as they were hung on the old barn. It gives the room the feeling of a general store or cabin from the old west that we both love.

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

This photo shows a late afternoon sun shining on the walls so the floor colors appear shadowed and darker than they really are. The wood on the other hand is really that bold and different in color. We chose not to plain the wood and only lightly sand the rough finish off the boards. We are trying to give the room a true rustic barn feel and I think we really are getting that feeling so far.

The work is going faster than I though, mainly because we are using an Air Nail Gun to attach the boards to the walls. The nails we are using are 2 1/2 inches long and we nail the board at the top of the walls frame and then at any stud that we can find and at the bottom frame of the wall. Some of the boards are very warped and need cut to straighten them for use and others are fine off the wood pile. So each piece is an individual in a larger puzzle. We have chosen to keep the imperfections and natural coloring because that is what people really do when building a barn. You don’t toss out a good board due to a knothole  or split in the grain,  you just use it and move on, so we have saved and used the knots and splits as part of our over all design plan. Not every one is comfortable with the imperfections of the barn wood like we are, but this application is simple and less time-consuming then other wood treatments.

The remaining walls should be pretty easy to cover up until Tom needs to cover the fuse box. He will need to make a door with country hinges and an old fashion lock for decoration. Then 4 inch molding will go across the base of the wall and 2 inch molding around the top. Again this will be nothing fancy just simple cut boards and nails to finish off the look.

So if you want to read more about how we got the boards for this project or have interest in reclaiming barn wood check out some of my other posts about working with The Barnwood Builder TV show and Our House Remodel #2

In the future I hope I am able to post more photos of the family room and our new little friends I just wonder if I can get more photos of them before they leave the nest forever? We will see!

Categories: Baby Animals, Barns, Barnwood Builders, hobbies, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, nostalgic, slate tile, Squirrles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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